NFL Playoff Picture: Panthers in, spots still open

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm •  Published: December 22, 2013
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Tom Brady and Peyton Manning clinched division titles, Cam Newton reached the postseason for the first time and a pair of all-or-nothing games loomed on the final weekend in a scrambled NFL playoff race.

The Chicago Bears missed a chance to seal a spot with a 54-11 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday night. Now, they'll host Green Bay next Sunday — the winner takes the NFC North, the loser is done.

Several hours later, in the last game of the regular season, the Dallas Cowboys will host the Philadelphia Eagles. The Sunday night showdown decides who wins the NFC East and who goes home.

"Today we felt like we were playing for everything," Tony Romo said after his fourth-down TD pass with 1:08 left Sunday sent Dallas over Washington 24-23. "Next week will be the same thing."

Meanwhile, all the AFC division titles got settled. Denver, New England and Cincinnati won to join Indianapolis with crowns.

Kansas City is assured of one AFC wild-card spot. Defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore, Miami and San Diego are tied at 8-7 for the other slot with even Pittsburgh at 7-8 still in it.

"You know, we're used to going out there and playing well when we need to when the playoffs are on the line," said Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who threw two interceptions in a 41-7 loss to Brady and the Patriots.

Newton and his Carolina Panthers, along with Seattle, are the only NFC teams with guaranteed playoff berths.

San Francisco (10-4) can clinch a playoff spot Monday night with a win against visiting Atlanta.

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